I am planning to start beekeeping this spring. Is it advisable to start on the 4.9 foundation offered by Dadent or normal medium brood then shaking down to the 4.9 after 6 weeks ???
I will be using 3 deep hive body system to start out.
Clint in Michigan
Is it advisable to start on the 4.9 foundation offered by Dadent or normal medium brood then shaking down to the 4.9 after 6 weeks ???
Why start on the larger cell size if you will just shake down? Just start with 4.9 as this is the same as a shake down,except from a package. The bees will get to work sizing down from the get go. You will most likely have to shake the bees down one more time anyways. As bees can only size down about.2mm at a clip. Much will depend on the size foundation the bees come off from. If it is 5.2 they MAY go down in one shot. But from the colonies I regressed this year they went to an average of about 5.0-5.05. So they will be shaken down again in the spring. As the intermediate combs will be used in other colonies. Not to mention the twenty I will shake down in the spring. Since I mill my own foundation the number may be more depending on my clean wax supply. Also quite a bit of culling will be necessary. Don't be disappointed if the bees only produce 2 boxes of good combs. If you use starter strips you may only get 1 box. So it may take two seasons to get three deep for a brood nest during the initial sizing down. Just have a good amount of foundation on hand. I must mention that their is a window of time for geting the bees to draw small cell foundation out properly. It is in the spring until the honey flow. Many colonies will NOT draw 4.9 properly once the honeyflow starts. Some will draw one frame at a time in the center of the brood nest(not supers)others won't. Have a metric ruler handy. Any other questions just ask?
thanks for the prompt advice as I plan to go pick up the foundation next week.
Clint from Michigan
Hey, I keep reading about shaking the bees down. What is this, or can you lead me to a link that explains all this?
This should help you out.
shows a shakedown. Simply move the existing hive off to the side, in its place put another hive body with frames with either 1" starter strips of foundation or full sheets of foundation and brush all the bees from the "old" hive into the new one, including the queen. They are now forced to draw new comb and this is how we get the bees to go smaller.
Thanks for the links. This site has been very helpful so far, and I will keep checking it out.